Can ‘toxic’ bilirubin treat a variety of illnesses?

Thursday, June 8, 2023 - 13:41 in Health & Medicine

Generations of medical and biology students have been instilled with a dim view of bilirubin. Spawned when the body trashes old red blood cells, the molecule is harmful refuse and a sign of illness. High blood levels cause jaundice, which turns the eyes and skin yellow and can signal liver trouble. Newborns can’t process the compound, and although high levels normally subside, a persistent surplus can cause brain damage. Yet later this year up to 40 healthy Australian volunteers may begin receiving infusions of the supposedly good-for-nothing molecule. They will be participating in a phase 1 safety trial, sponsored by the South Korean company Bilix, that could pave the way for testing bilirubin as a treatment in organ transplant recipients and patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and stroke. The company’s ambitions reflect a new...

Read the whole article on Science NOW

More from Science NOW

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net